better appointment handling in MLS

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
kisaac
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better appointment handling in MLS

Postby kisaac » Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:02 pm

Just brainstorming, and maybe others could help...

MLS is powerful, but lacks some abilities for interview tracking, scheduling and reporting of interviews, and I'll include tithing settlement as an interview. I realize that many things are changing. Maybe in the future MLS and LUWS will be one and the same.

I wish MLS had more support for interviews, expanded to include more then just a report of who needs interviews, like we currently have. I'm not sure how or if it could all work.

Currently, we print an "action and interview" list, a "temple recommend expiration" list, etc, then make calls and keep paper calendars. Yes, we could now move these calendars to a new Beta LUWS calendar. But I want more integration, better time management, better reporting, and less chance of "losing" the interview that didn't happen. I want an "outlook" type MLS that combines task lists and calendars for appointments and interviews.

I wish I could log on to an interview application in MLS, and type a few parameters for interview scheduling. For example, which leader will do the interviewing and what time they are available. MLS would then present me with a "task list" of interview candidates, based on options we've preselected. I make calls and once confirmed, with a click or two on the screen I can add the interview onto a calendar/schedule for each bishopric member. In a way, this is a task list integrated with a calendar function, much like Outlook.

For counselors, that may include current recommend holders that have expiring recommends, and youth interviews as assigned to each counselor. For the bishop, his options may include baptism candidates, priesthood advancements, non-temple recommend holders, etc.

Once calls are made the scheduling is done right on an "outlook" type of calendar, perhaps drag and drop from and interview "task list," so no re-typing of names or phone numbers are needed. If the interviewee doesn't show or the bishopric needs to reschedule, the interview is not entered as completed, and remains on the list to be rescheduled.

Reporting could be integrated, so with a few clicks, we can see what interviews are complete, and what are still "due," so the bishopric may increase or decrease the amount of time available on a sunday.

Tithing settlement is just a much larger appointment task list...the whole ward. The list could show who has signed up, who has been completed, and those yet to sign up for a time. Integrated with a calendar, additions and modifications can be made easily. Perhaps even allow an online sign up through an LUWS tie-in.

Just some thoughts...what do others think?

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:31 pm

The biggest issue I see is how to access the application. The ward computer is already a bottleneck and many wards don't have internet connectivity to support a web application. Personal devices would be best, but there's such a wide variety of platforms.

My best thought is to have exports out of MLS feed a app on the Executive Secretary's PDA/Smartphone. I know there's already MLS companion type apps. Perhaps this function can be added if they don't already have it.
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

zaneclark
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Postby zaneclark » Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:57 pm

RussellHltn wrote:My best thought is to have exports out of MLS feed a app on the Executive Secretary's PDA/Smartphone. I know there's already MLS companion type apps. Perhaps this function can be added if they don't already have it.

What are some of these MLS companion type apps? Do you mean iStake and MyWard? If there are some different ones, I would like to check them out....

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Fri Feb 19, 2010 2:01 pm

zaneclark wrote:What are some of these MLS companion type apps? Do you mean iStake and MyWard? If there are some different ones, I would like to check them out....


Yes. Sorry, I don't have a complete list.
Have you searched the Wiki?

Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

nihonjin
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Postby nihonjin » Sat Mar 06, 2010 4:01 pm

I am currently serving as the Stake Exec Sec and i would love to have an online interview scheduler where i can set up on any given day who is going to be doing interviews, start time and end time and set custom time slots ie 15min intervals or 30min intervals (longer interviews can just be multiples of these).

I would then like the Stake Presidency to also be able to login anytime and see what has been booked. They can also blank out time slots if they need to.

It would be even better if the members in the stake could log in and book TR interviews automatically using free available time slots. All other interviews would be booked through the exec sec.

I know this type of online interview scheduling software exists for business but none of them just quite work for church purposes. Surely the church could look into something like this.

thanks.

aprayzr
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Google?

Postby aprayzr » Sat Mar 06, 2010 8:59 pm

I recently found out I have one unit using Google Desktop for appointment scheduling. They have found it very useful, but I am concerned about security/privacy. They have been keeping only the family name and appointment time on it for privacy reasons, but I don't know much about this software and not sure if I should allow them to keep using it.

Does anyone have any thoughts on using Google Desktop for scheduling Bishops meetings?

Could the Church adapt this for scheduling purposes?

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Sat Mar 06, 2010 9:51 pm

As far as I can tell, Google Desktop is a search engine. Are you talking about Google Docs?
Have you searched the Wiki?

Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

aprayzr
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Postby aprayzr » Sat Mar 06, 2010 9:58 pm

RussellHltn wrote:As far as I can tell, Google Desktop is a search engine. Are you talking about Google Docs?


I believe it uses the Google Calendar app, but from from the desktop? I will stop in tomorrow and check it out a bit more.

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Sat Mar 06, 2010 10:14 pm

aprayzr wrote:I believe it uses the Google Calendar app, but from from the desktop? I will stop in tomorrow and check it out a bit more.


You'd have too look carefully to make sure it's not a web browser.

Keep in mind that if the bishop had a Android smart phone, he'd be using Google Calender for much of his personal scheduling anyway. In other words, any pronouncements in this area, even if just local is likely to get thorny very quickly.
Have you searched the Wiki?

Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

aprayzr
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Postby aprayzr » Sat Mar 06, 2010 10:57 pm

Just downloaded and installed google desktop on my personal computer. It basically has a widget to bring your google calendar from online to your desktop. You can do scheduling from there, rather than by logging in. But I am sure they are accessing it from home/work to set up/communicate the appointments as the data is stored on the web.

Any idea as to whether this should be allowed to continue or not? I will present this to the Stake Pres next week for their decision.

As an aside, I have a droid and sync outlook to gmail to get my outlook appointments to my droid. Would be much better/secure if someone would write the app for syncing outlook directly without using gmail. My job does not require extreme privacy, but not all that comfortable having it all (contacts and appointments) available to Google Inc. to see.


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